FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2023
Malana Joseph Mitchell
NEW ORLEANS – On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, Dr. Rochelle L. Ford, APR, president of Dillard University – home of the National Center for Black Jewish Relations – will speak at the “American’s March for Israel, to Free Hostages, Against Antisemitism, ” urging all Americans to work collaboratively to end antisemitism and stand together against hate.
Coordinated by the National Jewish Federation, the March will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET on the National Mall in Washington, DC and is free and open to the public. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Ford, along with a delegation of Dillard University students, Dillard’s chaplain, Philos Black participants, and members of the Jewish Federation of New Orleans will participate in the March.
“On behalf of Dillard University and our National Center for Black Jewish Relations, we ask that you stand together against terrorism, hate, antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, anti-arab sentiment and discrimination. Join us as we advocate for peace and progress,” said Ford.
In January 2023, Dillard University re-established the National Center for Black Jewish Relations because of the rise in racism and antisemitism in America. The Center collaborates in creating a space for dialogue, learning, and mutual understanding between Black and Jewish communities; unifying respective communities; and combating racism and antisemitism.
“We are committed to helping our students find truth and understanding in this highly complex world. No one should be condemned or be threatened for expressing their support or advocacy of their nationality, religion or ethnicity. Let’s move beyond sound bites and work together to promote understanding,” said Ford.
The March will be an opportunity for all Americans to come together in solidarity with the people of Israel, to demonstrate our commitment to America’s ally in the Middle East, to condemn the rising trend of antisemitic violence and harassment, and to demand that every hostage be immediately and safely released.
Dillard University is a pro-peace university, believing that Israelis and Palestinians can coexist. Although the war in the Middle East continues to escalate, Dillard is advocating for peace in the region. Because we are the home to the National Center for Black Jewish Relations, Dr. Ford accepted the invitation to March for Israel, Dillard also stands with Palestine. Additionally, Dillard University will hold a student only listening circle on this Friday, November 17, to hear students perspectives on the issue.
See below for a copy of President Ford’s full statement.
Dillard University’s President Rochelle Ford’s Full Statement
Americans March for Israel, to Free Hostages, Against Antisemitism
God’s timing is always perfect. For about 6 months, Rabbi Ari Berman, Yasheva’s president, and I had been trying to meet regarding partnerships with Dillard University’s revived National Center for Black Jewish Relations. We finally connected on Oct. 11 when Rabbi Berman just returned from Israel. His heart was heavy, and I said to him,
“The Bible says that the Jewish people won when Moses held his arms up. But who was holding up Moses’ arms? Aaron and Hur. Let us be your Aaron and Hur. Lean on us.”
Winning will only happen when there is peace in the Middle East and an end to antisemitism and hate everywhere.
You are not alone
Together we co-wrote a statement that more than 100 other college and university presidents and chancellors signed condemning terrorism and calling upon all to act with moral clarity while seeking truth to stand with Israel, with the Palestinians who suffer under Hamas’s cruel rule in Gaza and with all people of moral conscience.
We seek understanding
We are committed to helping our students find truth and understanding in this highly complex world. No one should be condemned or be threatened for expressing their support or advocacy of their nationality, religion or ethnicity. Let’s move beyond sound bites and work together to promote understanding.
We will help others remember that Black American troops helped to liberate concentration camps during World War II, and remember that Jewish leaders like Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to end segregation and advocate for civil rights. We promise to keep talking, listening, and trying to understand each other better.
Lean into love
Being empathetic is what will help us move forward. We understand that families are scared—fear for the safety of loved ones in the military and fear that help might not get to the people who need it the most.
As someone with Black and Indigenous ancestors, I know how important it is to fight the pull of hate that comes from fear. Therefore, we must help each other to fight the easy and natural urge to give into the blind rage of hate, and help each other to love humanity, value and respect the cultures of all people.
Let’s do this together, we stand with you.
Monday, November 20th
The Office of Human Resources will host a listening session about Black Jewish Relations and the Israel-Gaza War. Location and time will be TBA.
About Dillard University
Dillard University is a historically Black institution that cultivates leaders who live ethically, think and communicate precisely, and act courageously to make the world a better place. Located in New Orleans, Dillard is a private faith-based liberal arts university that offers 22 majors and two certificate programs. Ranked 5th on 2021 The New York Times Overall Mobility Index and 14th in 2022 by Academic Influence for Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship, Dillard’s call to future leaders is to Write Your Legacy. Find out more about Louisiana’s oldest HBCU by visiting www.dillard.edu.